How To Do The Kettlebell Snatch

Kettlebell Snatch
(Image credit: Glen Burrows)

Kettlebells are an amazing muscle-building and fat-loss weapon – if you use them correctly. Get the technique wrong, however, and the most likely outcome is lower back pain. To make sure you use them effectively, we’ve enlisted kettlebell king Mike Mahler to provide an in-depth guide to executing the key kettlebell moves with perfect form so you can add them to your training arsenal. In this article, Mahler details how to get the the kettlebell snatch, a demanding fully-body exercise, right. 

Kettlebell Snatch Form Guide

Kettlebell Snatch

(Image credit: Glen Burrows)
  • Start with the kettlebell on the floor slightly in front of you and between your feet, which should be shoulder-width apart.
  • Bending slightly at the knees but hingeing mainly at the hips, grasp the kettlebell and pull it back between your legs with one hand (with your thumb pointing backwards) to create momentum.
  • Drive your hips forwards and straighten your back to initiate the upward movement of the kettlebell.
  • Once the bell passes chest height, gently pull it back and slide your fist around and under the bell, then punch it upwards so it nestles softly on the back of your wrist with your arm straight above your head.

Kettlebell Snatch Form Tips

“With poor technique the snatch often looks like a clean to head level and then a press out,” says Mahler. “It should be an uninterrupted motion from the floor to overhead. As with the kettlebell clean, you want to focus on getting your hand around the bell rather than letting it violently flip over and bang up your wrist. Swing the bell out and then imagine you’re trying to throw it behind you. This will change the trajectory and get it to the lockout position more seamlessly. At the top, rotate your wrist so your thumb is pointing back and lower down and towards the body to avoid straining the lower back.”

You should punch the bell up at the end of the move just as it nestles onto the back of your wrist. If it’s slapping the back of your wrist with a thud it’s a sign that you need to work on your timing.

Joe Warner
Former editor of Men’s Fitness UK

Joe Warner is a highly experienced journalist and editor who began working in fitness media in 2008. He has featured on the cover of Men’s Fitness UK twice and has co-authored Amazon best-sellers including 12-Week Body Plan. He was the editor of Men’s Fitness UK magazine between 2016 and 2019, when that title shared a website with Coach.